Veteran Entrepreneur: Joshua Seley

Written by: Brady Drake

Photo by Hilary Ehlen

Deckplate Diesel (Opened June of 2019)

We are a full service, diesel truck and trailer repair shop. We also maintain heavy offroad, construction, and agriculture equipment. I own and operate this business. Right now the Deckplate Diesel team is comprised of Janai our office manger, William a diesel technician, and myself, Joshua Seley the owner and ASE Certified Master diesel technician. We operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Customers can call anytime and we will respond to their equipment repair needs. The training I received in the U.S. Navy has directly prepared me to own and operate this business. I really enjoy the fast paced environment of working in the transportation and diesel repair industry. I have an amazing team at Deckplate Diesel to assist providing the highest quality of service to our customers. Joshua Seley

Branch: U.S. Navy

Years Served: 7

First Job After Service: Diesel Technician

Did you use military benefits when starting Deckplate Diesel?
Yes, I am currently enrolled in NDSU’s Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program. The G.I. Bill has allowed my to learn about business, while I run my business Deckplate Diesel. I am very thankful for the resources available through the VA and NDSU for Veteran’s.

Military skill most used in business: Leadership. There is a word the Navy uses to describe leaders who lead by example. That word is ‘Deckplate Leader”. This describes a leader who leads by example on the deckplates of the ship. I owe much of my leadership knowledge and experience to what the Navy has taught me. Through good times and bad, Deckplate Leaders lead by example with strict moral standards. That is why, when I choose the business name for my diesel truck repair company “Deckplate Diesel”, I named it accordingly. I think about this everyday when I am leading my employees in how we, as a business conduct our work. A deckplate leader leads from the front and conducts their work in a manner that is fair and honest. I hold myself and my employees to this standard day in and day out. 

What words of encouragement do you have for fellow veteran entrepreneurs?
Seek out all resources. The Small Business Administration has some great resources that are not publicly advertised. I spoke with a representative locally in Fargo and they gave me great insight when I open my business Deckplate Diesel.

Many veterans struggle with finding a sense of purpose when reintegrating into the civilian world. How can getting involved in the business community help with that reintegration process?
I for one, know the struggles of leaving Military service and becoming a civilian again. When I finished my 2nd enlistment in 2015, I had major difficulties reintegrating into the civilian workforce. I was used to the fast-paced and dangerous environments encountered while working on deployed Aircraft Carriers. I found the stress and excitement that comes from owning a business is very similar to that I felt when I was in the military. It has been a perfect match for me on the civilian side. The VA, SBA, and resources at NDSU have been great sources of information and help. I am so thankful to own a Veteran owned and operated business in the Fargo/Moorhead community.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.